Sunday, September 27, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Fanfic: "Myriad," Chapters 8 and 9 of 9

Chapter Eight

One of the Myriads had done the unthinkable.  She had slipped past Superboy and Mon-El.  While her replicates kept the two Legion titans busy, she alone accessed the corridor to the main lab.  It had been easier than she thought.  Blame it on male egos – they probably never thought a mere Carggite girl would outsmart them.

But there was no time to be overconfident.  The sheer number of replicates had taken a serious toll.  Myriad found it difficult to focus on her mission or to even remember why she was there in the first place.  But in a few minutes, her mission would all be over and no one would ever stop her again.

She found the door to the main lab strangely unguarded.  Surely the Legionnaires knew where she was heading by now.  Why hadn’t they posted more Legionnaires outside, or even automated sentries?  Perhaps she had already encountered all of the available Legionnaires.  

No matter.  She placed Invisible Kid's flight ring in front of the scanner.  The door whisked open.

The main lab sprawled out before her like a mini-citadel of its own, with rows and rows of objects she couldn’t begin to recognize.  She could get lost for days trying to find what she wanted.

But there it was, right in front of her. The upright diagnostic bed was unmistakable, as were the cylindrical apertures extending from its side.

Starfinger’s psonic analyzer.

She went cold.  Repressed memories came flooding back.  Why in the galaxy did she want to expose herself to such agony again?

“My deductions were correct,” came a voice from behind her.  Myriad spun around and came face to face with Brainiac 5, the Legion’s super-genius.  He stood with his arms folded, looking not the least surprised.  “It is the Hanscom cellular duplicating ray you are after.”

“H-Hanscom?”  Myriad said, the name dimly familiar.

“Dr. Lars Hanscom. Better known as Starfinger.  You know Starfinger very well, don’t you, Thleka Caredi?”

“Y-You know my name?”

“Once I deduced that our intruder was Carggite, it was simply a matter of scanning the holo-news from your world.” Brainiac 5 stepped forward slightly. "One report, several months old, told of a young woman being abducted in broad daylight by a winged creature which teleported out of nowhere.  It had to be Warxxi, Starfinger’s winged servant.”

Myriad blinked as the memory resurfaced. She had been on her way to the Temple of the Three Suns when the creature appeared out of nowhere. Its scaly wings blotted out the sky. People around her ran, but she couldn't move. It's raw power, it's sheer grace and beauty transfixed her. She didn't realize it was coming for her until it was too late.

"Starfinger wanted to know the secret of Carggite replication," Brainiac 5 continued, "so he could create more replicates of himself. "He must have experimented on you, a random citizen of Cargg, before he perfected the process and tried again by recently kidnapping Duo Damsel."

"He tortured me with that device!" Myriad pointed to the psonic analyzer. "It felt like he was splitting me apart atom by atom, and then he just returned me to Cargg, as if nothing ever happened."

"But something did happen afterwards, didn't it?" Brainiac 5's tone was sympathetic, even compassionate. "You split into four, and then five, and then six bodies. Replicating more than twice is not unknown on Cargg, but it is rare. You were regarded as a freak, an abomination . . ."

"They shunned me!  I didn't ask for any of this, but it didn't matter."

"And yet you want to expose yourself to the psonic analyzer again."

 Myriad realized the Coluan probably already knew of the toll creating so many replicates was taking on her. "If I can correct the imbalance, I can create even more replicates of myself without straining," she admitted.

"And then what will you do?"

 “I’ll create an army and return to Cargg! I'll make them pay for shunning me."

“So, that’s what you want, simple revenge?”  Brainiac 5 asked, rhetorically.  “You are a sick woman, Thleka.  The sheer number of replicates is taking its toll on you.  Surrender and we can help--”

Before the Coluan could finish, Myriad replicated two more of herself and jumped him.  But all three were immediately repelled.  As they picked themselves off the floor, Brainiac 5 glowered at them.  “Did you truly think that I would confront you without activating my force field belt first?”

“It doesn’t matter!” one of the Myriads shouted.  “This is what we want!”  All three flew toward the psonic analyzer, and then watched in horror as it changed.  The analyzer morphed into Chameleon Boy, the Durlan Legionnaire who could imitate the appearance of anything.  Myriad had been tricked.

Chameleon Boy next turned into a Dakledian spider and ensnared one of the Myriads in his 14 arms.  The other two Myriads also found themselves busy.  Shrinking Violet, who had been hiding in tiny size, resumed her full height and slugged one Myriad, while Phantom Girl phased out from a wall of consoles and, turning solid, grabbed the third Myriad, judo-flipping her (a move Karate Kid had taught her).

“You fools!” the Myriad who was ensnared by Chameleon Boy blurted.  “I can replicate more ... as many as it takes ... to defeat you!”

“I doubt it,” Brainiac 5 said, as he activated a nearby console.  Giant video screens appeared around them, showing Legionnaires fighting Myriads replicates throughout the headquarters.  Myriad watched in horror as her sea of selves started to thin out, then vanish altogether, leaving only perplexed Legionnaires.  “The actual psonic analyzer,” Brainiac 5 explained, “is hidden elsewhere in this room. As well as being able to replicate cells, it can also subtract them.  You have been exposed to its invisible rays from the moment you entered the lab.”

“What Brainy’s trying to tell you,” Chameleon Boy said, “is that what Starfinger gave you, the Legion has taken away.”

“That’s right,” Phantom Girl added.  “There are only three of you left.”

“You’re just a normal Carggite, now,” said Shrinking Violet.

Myriad’s scream echoed throughout the lab, reverberating off the walls before she wore herself out.


Chapter Nine

Invisible Kid’s shift at monitor duty was just beginning.  Perhaps this is all he’s good for anymore, he thought.  By the time he had woken up in the alley behind the Crev Café and flagged down a Science Police cruiser, the action was all over.  He had missed the whole thing.  Fortunately, no real damage was done, and Myriad had been apprehended and turned over to UP authorities.  Even Invisible Kid’s injuries were slight, though enough to delay his mission to Pasnic. 

But the damage to his pride had been severe. A deranged woman had invaded Legion HQ using his flight ring.  His flight ring.  Perhaps his days as a Legionnaire were truly over.

 “Hey, Lyle,” Matter-Eater Lad said, bounding into the monitor room. “Here’s the report on the applicants who are trying out next week.  Looks like a bunch of losers, if you ask me. One of them looks kind of interesting though, if you’re into mucus.”

Lyle took the report and glumly tossed it over on a console.

“Hey, cheer up,” Matter-Eater Lad said.  “It could happen to anybody.  We’re Legionnaires, not gods.”

“How would you know?”  Lyle said.  “It would probably never happen to you.”

“What?  Getting clobbered by a girl?”  Tenz replied, wistfully.  “Probably not.” 

Invisible Kid rolled his eyes.

“What I don’t get is,” Tenz added, “what were you doing in that nightclub by yourself?  Don’t you know the Crev is in a rough neighborhood?”

“No,” Lyle admitted, “I didn’t.”

“Well, why don’t you come along with Val and me when you get off duty?  We’ll show you where the classy spots are.  Then you can pick up some real girls who won’t turn out to be super-villains.”

“Thanks, but I have a paper to finish.”                

“Suit yourself,” Tenz replied, shrugging, and started to walk out.  “But you spend way too much time writing research holos, if you ask me.  You’re not Brainy, you know.”

Lyle bristled.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Coluans have wet dreams about test tubes, but the rest of us are human.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m officially off-duty, so I’m going to go be human for a while.”

Lyle pondered this.  His career as a Legionnaire had been rewarding and eventful.  But there was more to life than saving the universe from the Fatal Five and writing research papers.  As a Legionnaire, Invisible Kid was expected to be well organized and precise.  But without Lyle Norg, the spontaneous brat who created an invisibility serum because he wanted to skip school, there would be no Invisible Kid.  And, just like that, Lyle made another spontaneous decision.

“Hey, Tenz,” he shouted as his teammate was almost out the door.  “Can you wait for a moment?”

“Sure,” Matter-Eater Lad replied.

Lyle hit the intercom, ringing the dorm room of his friend, Chemical King.

“Whassup?”  a sleepy Condo Arlik answered.

“Chem,” Lyle began, “something's come up.  Can you fill in for me on monitor duty tonight?”

Chemical King perked up.  “Sure.  For you, Lyle, anything.”

“Thanks,” Lyle replied.  “I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”  He then toggled off the intercom, and turned back to an amazed Matter-Eater Lad.  “So, while we’re waiting for Chem to get here, tell me more about these classy night spots.”


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Fanfic: "Myriad," Chapters 6 and 7 of 9

Chapter Six

An instant later, Superboy appeared above Legion Headquarters, emerging through the time barrier from the 20th century.  The “teen of steel” – one day destined to become the greatest hero earth would ever know – found he wasn’t alone.  Mon-El and Ultra Boy were also flying toward the citadel.

“What’s going on?”  Superboy asked. “It must be a major threat for the three of us to be summoned together.”

Mon-El nodded grimly. They were the three most powerful Legionnaires. He turned to Ultra Boy.  “We need to know what we're getting into. Jo?"

Ultra Boy, who had the same powers as the other two but could use only one at a time, switched from flight to penetra-vision.  His flight ring would keep him aloft while he scanned inside the inertron walls of the HQ -- an ability not shared by Superboy or Mon’s x-ray vision.  After a moment, Ultra Boy exclaimed, “You won’t believe this.  We’ve been invaded by an army of girls!”

“Girls?”  Superboy said.

“Yes, and ... wait!  There’s more of them than there were a second ago.  They seem to be replicating at will.”

“Carggites?”  Superboy said.

“Sounds like it,” Mon-El replied.  “What are they doing?”

Ultra Boy scanned deeper.  “They’ve overrun much of the HQ, but they seem to be heading in the same general direction,” he said.  Ultra Boy turned off his penetra-vision and faced the other two, his face pale.  “Brainy’s lab!”

“What do you suppose they want?” Superboy said.

“Who knows?” Mon said.  “Brainy was studying the Miracle Machine and Tharok’s robot brain, among other things.  Whatever they’re after,  they've got to be stopped.”

"Let's go in from different angles," Superboy offered, "and round them up."

Mon-El considered this. As Legion leader, it was his call. "No," he decided. "We know where they're headed. What do they say back in the 20th century? 'Let's cut them off at the pass.'"

Flying at super-speed, the three entered Legion HQ, blocking the main path to the laboratory.

But even they were not enough.  Within seconds, they were overrun by Myriads, who managed to defy even their super-strength and invulnerability.

Superboy breathed deep and exhaled, blowing dozens of Myriads down the hallway.  Three dozen more appeared in their place.

Mon-El flew circles around several Myriads, cutting off their oxygen and forcing them to pass out.  But more jumped him and held on as he zig-zagged through the winding corridors.

Ultra Boy switched from super-speed to flash vision to invulnerability as fast as he could.  But he was swamped by legions of young women.  Any other time, he might have enjoyed this (though he would never admit it to Phantom Girl), but this was taxing even his powers.

“They seem to be getting stronger the more they multiply,” he shouted.

“Yes, and the more they replicate, the less rational they seem,” Superboy replied, as he encircled several Myriads in his super-stretchable cape.  “Look at their eyes!”

But Jo didn’t have time to look in their eyes.  It was all he could do to keep pace with the army of young women.  Switching powers back and forth exhausted him.  If he kept this up, he would make a mistake – switch to super-strength when he needed super-speed, perhaps -- and they would have him.  Finally, he decided on a plan: He would switch to invulnerability and let the young women wear themselves out trying to subdue him.  When they were exhausted, he would be refreshed and continue the fight.  

Instead, it turned out to be fateful mistake.  Jo found himself pushed down into a ball-shaped position, as the Myriads huddled over him like players in a moopsball tournament.  There must have been hundreds on top of him, he thought.  He couldn’t move without switching back to super-strength.  But if he did, they would crush him in an instant.  Like it or not, Ultra Boy was out of this fight.

Mon-El held his own, but he was not succeeding at pushing the invaders back.  “Who are you?”  he demanded of one of the invaders.  “What do you want?”

The woman’s lips turned up in a crooked smile.  Her eyes widened into dark pools.  “I want to be more.”

Chapter Seven

“I want to be more,” Brainiac 5 repeated, as he watched the video screen. 

“What does that mean?”  Phantom Girl asked.  She had been summoned to Brainy’s lab to serve as a last line of defense, as had Shrinking Violet and Chameleon Boy.  All three had powers which would enable them to hide quickly and take an attacker by surprise, if need be.  Not that Phantom Girl believed they would do much good against a mass of enemies who could keep Superboy and Mon-El in check.  But if that was Brainy’s plan, she was not about to argue.

“Why would she want to be more?”  Chameleon Boy echoed.  “She can already replicate as many times as she wants.”

“Perhaps,” Brainy said, stroking his chin, “but not without cost.  Observe.”

He pointed to another video screen.  Karate Kid was now in the sub-basement, far removed from Superboy and Mon-El’s fight.  The master of martial arts judo-flipped one Myriad into several others.  They fell and did not replicate further.  “She’s growing tired,” Brainy continued.  “Replicating countless times takes a toll on her.”

“Then what do we do?”  Violet asked.

“We keep it up,” Brainy replied, toggling another signal device.  “We overrun her with our own Legions.”

Within minutes, the call was answered by Legion’s reserve branch, the Legion of Substitute-Heroes: Polar Boy, Night Girl, Color Kid, Chlorophyll Kid, Stone Boy and Fire Lad.  Their powers were not strong enough for the regular Legion, but their valor was unquestioned.  They had overcome their own limitations and assisted the Legion on many occasions.

“Are you nuts, Brainy?”  Chameleon Boy protested, as he watched the Subs wade into the sea of Myriads.  “If our buddies can’t overcome her, what makes you think they can?”

“They don’t have to,” Brainy snapped.  It always bothered him when the other Legionnaires questioned his sanity, as if having a super-intellect went hand in hand with mental defects.  It wasn’t Brainy’s fault if they neither knew nor understood his strategies. 

“I think I see,” Phantom Girl said, as she stepped forward to study the viewscreen.  On it, Chlorophyll Kid had turned the houseplants in the Green Room into an oversized, thorny maze.  The Myriads attacked it with wild abandon, cutting themselves, yet not seeming to care.  It would be only a matter of time before the bloodied replicates reached the startled Sub.  “She’s becoming careless,” Phantom Girl continued.


Brainy nodded.  “Take your places,” he said.  “She will be here in seconds.”

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Fanfic: "Myriad," Chapters 4 and 5 of 9


Chapter Four

Myriad looked at the bloody and beaten Legionnaire before her.  In his unconsciousness, Invisible Kid had slowly turned visible.  He was helpless, just as she had been.  But no more.  She would never be a victim again, and anyone who stood in her way would suffer the same fate as the man before her.  She concentrated, and each of her replicates merged back into her.  The remaining girl bent down to claim her prize: the Legion flight ring.

Legion Headquarters was exceptionally well guarded.  That was common knowledge.  But Myriad’s underworld contacts had given her some clues of what to expect.  Only someone wearing a flight ring could enter the complex, they had said.  

As she approached the main entrance and waved the ring in front of the identi-scan, it registered Invisible Kid.  The doors slid opened.

Inside, Myriad split into two bodies.  One waited at the entrance while the other walked across the tiled floor toward the inner doorway.  The second Myriad made it only three feet when she was overcome by gas that spewed from the tiles.  The first Myriad covered her nose and mouth and replicated again.  This time, using her replicated flight ring, the third Myriad flew over the tiles – only to be caught in a metal clamp that emerged from a hidden location in the ceiling.

By now, silent alarms had no doubt alerted the Legionnaires to her presence.  She replicated into thirty Myriads; surely, one of them would reach the inner entrance.  Twenty of them immediately were caught by the knockout gas, metal clamps, and plasti-nets.  The first to reach the door on the other side received an electric shock as she touched it.  This was going to be harder than Myriad thought.

Next to the inner door, one of the Myriads noticed a display with various symbols, some Interlac, some other languages – a combination keypad, she realized.  She replicated several more times, and each of  her replicates in turn began punching random symbols.  Most were knocked out by electric shocks.  But, finally, one succeeded.

The inner door opened.  Myriad was inside Legion Headquarters.

Chapter Five

Shadow Lass had been expecting a quiet evening on monitor duty when the alarm sounded. She told herself she should have known there was no such thing as a quiet evening at Legion HQ, but her knowing smile rapidly faded once she saw the nature of the emergency. The unthinkable had happened – Legion headquarters was being invaded.  She adjusted the monitors to see who would be so audacious. But the hidden monitors in the foyer revealed only that a shadowy figure had just walked through the front door.  Then another figure appeared out of nowhere.  When the second figure was overcome by knockout gas, more figures appeared – until the foyer was so full of gas, she couldn't tell what was happening.  Legion’s security devices weren’t supposed to work this way.  Most intruders would be nailed instantly.

She alerted all available Legionnaires, but it frustrated her that she couldn’t tell them what to expect.  The irony that Shadow Lass, mistress of shadows, could not penetrate the shadowy gas in the foyer was not lost on her.

***

Colossal Boy reached the foyer just as the inner door opened.  He prepared to expect the worst – the Fatal Five?  the LSV?  Universo?  Would any of them be dumb enough to just waltz through the front door?  Instead, he found himself face to face with – a girl.

“Hey you!” he shouted.  “You shouldn’t be here” – and immediately chided himself for his assumption that she had just wandered in like a lost tourist.  This young woman, whoever she was, had breached Legion security.  There had to be more to her than met the eye.

Much more, Colossal Boy learned instantly, when the girl replicated into several selves.  He grew to a height of 18 feet, the largest he could manage within the confines of the hallway – but more than enough to deal with most menaces.  

But it wasn’t enough this time.  

The young women seemed to grow stronger each time they replicated, dragging him down and piling on top of him.  His last thought was that he hoped no one would tell Timber Wolf that he got beaten by a girl.

***

From his laboratory deep within the complex, Brainiac 5 watched with incredulity.  On one monitor, Colossal Boy had already fallen. On another, Chemical King and Princess Projectra were being overrun.  In the main meeting hall, Element Lad caused several of the invaders to fall through the floor, which he had turned into nitrogen, but more appeared out of nowhere.  Karate Kid stood his ground in the armory, but for how long?  Nearby, Cosmic Boy’s magnetism had proven futile against a sea of opponents with no obvious metal trappings.

Brainiac 5's comrades were being taken unawares, divided and conquered in their own headquarters. He wanted to respond to the alarm and help them. As deputy leader, he could coordinate their efforts. But he knew he needed to remain behind and analyze the situation before deducing the appropriate course of action. The only concrete information he had learned so far had startled even him.

All of this chaos was created by one girl.

The DNA analyzers in the security database revealed that the invader was Carggite.  More, she was replicating herself to an unimaginable degree. How was this possible? He had to figure out who she was and what she wanted.

"Computer," he called out, activating the voice-recognition command, "search recent news files from the planet Cargg. Focus on crimes with an emphasis on disappearances."  Call it a hunch, he thought . . .

A series of images flashed before his eyes. "Stop!" he called when one captured his attention. He scanned the news item and then permitted himself a brief smile. It was gratifying to have a hunch confirmed.

He now knew who the intruder was and what she wanted. He also knew she had to be stopped at all costs.  He reached over to a console and pressed the trans-time signal device.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes Fanfic: "Myriad," Chapters 2 and 3 of 9



Chapter Two

The Crev Café was already crowded when Lyle arrived, even though it was early evening.  The presence of so many people disconcerted him.  It wasn’t that he didn’t like being around people –unlike Brainy, he constantly reminded his fellow Legionnaires, Lyle didn’t mind being in a crowd.  He didn’t always interact with others, but he liked to observe.  It occurred to him that even when he wasn’t literally invisible, he liked the pretend he was: just observing, not participating.  

Tonight that was going to change.

Yet once inside the sprawling, glittering dance club, he reverted to form.  He wandered around a bit and then, feeling awkward, sat at the bar.

“What’ll it be?” a two-headed bartender asked.

Lyle looked around for a menu.  He had no idea what to order.

“Try a Venusian latte,” one of the heads said.  “It boils your insides!”

The prospect didn’t sound appealing, so Lyle ordered a Daxamite Mocha, a beverage he’d heard Mon-El talking about.

“Leaded or unleaded?” the other head asked.

Lyle glared.  Lead jokes were not funny to Legionnaires.

***

Lyle sipped his unleaded (alcohol-free) Daxamite Mocha and went about observing people.  Then, amid the gyrating bodies on the dance floor, he noticed someone staring at him: a girl with long, brown hair and dark eyes.  At first, he thought she was Duo Damsel, the Legionnaire who had recently married and retired.  But this girl was younger and stunning.

Confidently, she walked up to him.

“Want to dance?”

She didn’t waste time.  Lyle liked that.

“I don’t know how,” he said.

“Never learned?”

“I’ve been busy,” he replied.  Sure, he thought, if battling the Fatal Five and Dr. Regulus isn’t “busy,” what is?

She smiled widely, baring perfectly formed and pristine white teeth.  For a moment, Lyle thought she might be Venusian carnivore, sizing up her prey before eating him.  He dismissed that thought quickly.

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “I’ll teach you.  Unless you’re afraid to try.”

Lyle smiled to himself.  Yep, she didn’t waste time.  

“What’s your name?”  he finally said.

The girl looked away, mysteriously.  “Call me ... Myriad.”

“Myriad?”  Lyle repeated.  “As in multitudes?  Tens of thousands?”

“If need be,” she replied, her smile mysterious and inviting.

Lyle found himself grinning and wondered if he looked as silly as Matter-Eater Lad did when he was about to partake of something only he could eat.  Still, flirting seemed to agree with him.  “Well, Tens of Thousands,” he said, as he climbed off the barstool, “show me one of your dances.”


Chapter Three

An hour later, Lyle thanked her for the dance and left.  Any hopes that something more would happen didn’t materialize.  Lyle believed his habit of observing people was the culprit.  Something about Myriad didn’t add up.  After the dance, they sat down at a table, and Lyle ordered drinks – Tequila Sunbursts, this time, something more daring than Daxamite Mochas.  

She asked him questions about what he did for a living.  He was a scientist, he said, not wanting to draw attention to being a Legionnaire.  She wanted to know where he worked and how far from here it was.  He answered as best he could without giving away specifics.  But she was cagey when he asked her about herself.  

This was odd, he thought, considering how much else she wanted to know about him.  Lyle tried to dismiss his suspicions – being a Legionnaire had taught him to be wary of those who asked too many questions.  But the warning signs were too powerful to ignore.  

Under the light above the table, he looked into her eyes.  She had the blackest eyes he had ever seen.  Psychiatry was not one of his specialties, but he had done some reading on the subject; such eyes, certain theorists believed, were the mark of insanity.

Nothing else about her demeanor suggested something was wrong, but it proved enough for him to lose interest.  He made a lame excuse about having to go out of town in the morning (which was true – he was due to leave for a Legion diplomatic mission to the planet Pasnic), and left.

As he passed the alley next to the Crev, something caught his eye.  It was Myriad.

“How did you – ?” he asked.  He had left her inside the club less than a minute ago.

“I know who you are,” she said, forcefully.  “You’re Invisible Kid of the Legion.” Lyle wasn’t really surprised that she recognized him – it’s not like Legionnaires wore masks. “The Legion has something I want, and you’re going to help me get it.”

Before Lyle could respond, someone shoved him from behind.  He stumbled into the alley and turned to face another Myriad, accompanied by yet a third.

“A Carggite!”  he exclaimed.  That’s why she at first reminded him of Duo Damsel.  She was from the same world, Cargg, where all natives could replicate two identical bodies at will.  Duo Damsel, in fact, had first joined the Legion as Triplicate Girl.  Later, one of her three bodies was killed by a Legion enemy; nevertheless, she had been a credit to both the Legion and to her world.  Myriad, obviously, had no intention of being a credit to anything.  “If you expect me to help you, you’re wrong,” he said.  He sized up all three Myriads – none had weapons that he could see.

“Oh, you will help us,” one of the Myriads replied.  Then all three added, “whether you like it or not,” in a stereo voice that sent chills down his spine.

As the three closed in on him, Lyle turned invisible.  While they looked around for some sign of where he was, he could easily walk past them and notify the nearest sci cop that some Carggite nut was on the loose. 

But he never got the chance.  Lyle watched in amazement as the three Myriads stretched out their arms, and a fourth Myriad appeared, then a fifth, then a sixth.  Even though Carggites could only split into three bodies, Lyle found himself surrounded by ten identical young women.

He had one recourse left – the open sky.  He would simply activate his Legion flight ring and take off before the Myriads knew what had happened.  But she had anticipated that, too.  From a nearby fire escape, an eleventh Myriad leaped into the center of the ring, landing on Lyle’s shoulder.

He hit the ground with enough noise to alert a Saturnian thought-beast. 

Instantly, the Myriads were on top of him.  The last thing he remembered was the sensation that the Myriads kept multiplying with delight as they pounded and kicked him.

Next Chapter